Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NOW's Maretta Short discusses Imus




As the first African-American president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW), Maretta J. Short has a thing or two to say about Don Imus and his attack on the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Here's Retta with Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now":

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Al Sharpton, joining us on the phone from New York. He is going to be having Don Imus on his radio program at 1:00 EST. Maretta Short, also with us, president of the National Organization for Women, New Jersey. Maretta Short, what is NOW calling for?

MARETTA SHORT: Well, thank you, Amy. Yes, well, right now we're asking for people to go to our website and take action by sending messages to the general manager, Chuck Bortnick, of radio station WFAN, which produces Imus's show, and to Karen Mateo, communications vice president of CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, and to MSNBC television, which airs and promotes the show. Imus's message is racist to the core, is sexist to the core, and it’s totally unacceptable.

And our Web page is nownj.org, by the way. And on Wednesday at 2:30, there is going to be a protest and rally at Rutgers University at 350 Martin Luther King Boulevard. So those who are asking, “What is Al doing about it? What is NOW doing about it? What is NAACP doing about it?” you have work to do. You are NOW, you are the NAACP, and it's time for us to move on this. Imus's actions are totally unacceptable.

AMY GOODMAN: Maretta Short, you are in New Jersey. Have you spoken to people at Rutgers?

MARETTA SHORT: Well, right now, I’m waiting for call backs. I have put out calls as -- last night, and I’m waiting for the calls to be returned. Right now, I’m reaching out to some members of the Rutgers basketball team. I have not spoken to any of them as of yet, but I certainly am looking forward to it.

AMY GOODMAN: And has NOW met with General Electric, which owns NBC, or NBC officials or MSNBC or WFAN or CBS, which owns FAN?

MARETTA SHORT: Yeah, that is a very good question, and I want to get to that later. But I think that it's important to say, about these apologies that Imus is supposed to make, there's certain things you can't apologize for, Amy. You can apologize for stepping on somebody's toe, bumping into them, but you cannot apologize for the filth that has come out of his mouth. I mean, I think it's utterly, utterly disgusting, and it targets a certain audience that nobody's focusing on: the white male beer-drinking eighteen to thirty-eighters. What makes them feel it's OK to do that? So now, his show is creating an audience that thinks that talking in that way and insulting people and spewing out that hatred is acceptable. It is totally unacceptable.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. We'll certainly report on what happens today, the latest developments, what Don Imus says on Reverend Al Sharpton's radio show and what the plans of the corporate networks are in dealing with Imus in the Morning.

MARIETTA SHORT: OK, well, Amy, thank you very much. And I just want to say that this is coming to us on the thirty-fifth year of the anniversary of the Title IX, when women have been given the equal opportunities in education, including sports, whereas years ago we just did not have that sort of thing. And, by the way, it was introduced by a woman of color, Patsy Mink of Hawaii, and I think that's a very important point to bring out, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much.

REV. AL SHARPTON: I agree. And we certainly support the rally at Rutgers, and we'll be doing rallies at CBS and NBC on Friday and Saturday of this week. And we'll keep you informed, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Thanks very much, Reverend Al Sharpton and Maretta Short, the president of New Jersey NOW.

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